My Pi Description

My Experiences With the Raspberry Pi -- Tracking My Learning -- My Pi Projects

Monday, January 6, 2014

Camera Remote Control - Free To Move

Last August I published four posts about my camera remote control project. I have a remote receiver/transmitter for actuating the shutter of my Canon G1X. The project was to replace the transmitter so I could control the shutter with a motion detector. Luckily I was able to find out that the receiver works at 433MHz.
The heart of the system consists of a 433MHz transmitter, a motion detector, and an ATmega328P microcontroller IC. Everything connected to my Gertboard, which sits atop my Raspberry Pi. The project was very successful but not terribly useful because it was basically a bunch of loose components and wires. And, it was tethered to a power cord. Here is what it looked like:
To make it useful, everything had to be separated from the Gertboard, RaspberryPi, and AC power. That's possible because the microcontroller, once programmed, retains its program. It was then just a matter of carefully removing the microcontroller from the Gertboard, wiring everything up, and putting it in a box. Oh, and using battery power rather than AC. Here you can see the completed camera remote in its enclosure and a really short demonstration of it in action:
And here is a photo of the inside of the box:
The circuit is built up on Adafruit's Perma-Proto Half-sized Breadboard PCB. The schematic follows here.
The original project used two LEDs that were part of the Gertboard. Of course, these were not available in the stand alone version, so I added two LEDs to the circuit. As before, one LED tracks the output of the motion detector. When the motion detector is triggered, its data signal output goes high for about a second. This time is variable and is controlled by a potentiometer on the detector PCB. This hold time prevents a series of rapid triggers. On the video above, that is why you see that LED on for about a second. The other LED is only on for the time it takes to send patterns to the RF transmitter - a very short time. In the video you have to look closely to see this flash. The LEDs are mounted in the top of the enclosure.
You can follow this link to see the diagram of the project as it was on the Gertboard, and to find links to the RF transmitter and the motion detector.
When it comes to purchasing components for these projects we always seem to mention Adafruit, SparkFun, and Element14/Newark Electronics. However, I find the best place to go for general electronic parts and hardware is Digi-Key . I could not find the enclosure, 12MHz resonator, and many of the nuts and bolts I needed elsewhere.
The Gertboard uses a 12MHz resonator, which I found was not a common part. 10MHz and 16MHz can be easily found. I wondered what to do if I decided to use a resonator of another frequency rather than 12MHz. I will report on that effort on another blog post. I did use the 12MHz resonator and was glad I did. I'll also report on that in a separate post.
The enclosure for the project is a Bud box. Digi-Key has a good assortment of these enclosures.
You may notice rather large series resistors for the LEDs - 10Kohm each. This limited the current to the LEDs to about 1ma. This was just fine because I used clear LEDs so it doesn't take much light to be visible. This also limited the battery current draw.
I used three AAA batteries in series to produce 4.5V for the project. The battery holder came from Adafruit and, unfortunately for me, had an on/off switch. The switch was in the way because it was on the side of the battery holder that I superglued to the side of the enclosure. It took a bit of work to remove enough of the switch to make it flush. The plastic was tough. Also, the width of the holder was about 1mm too wide. This interfered with the lid of the enclosure. I had to use a belt sander to take a little bit of plastic away. It wound up being a mess, and I need tape to hold the battery compartment lid on. The batteries should last a pretty long time. The circuit draws about 9ma. During the time the motion detector is triggered, the current rises to about 12ma.

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